Greater Manchester’s tourism sector is most valuable to Greater Manchester’s economy, says Marketing Manchester boss.
Speaking at the second annual Greater Manchester Tourism Conference, Sheona Southern said tourism is worth more than key sectors such as financial and professional services, life and creative sciences, digital and technology.
Greater Manchester’s tourism sector is worth £ 7.9 billion and supports 94,000 jobs, while attracting 119 million visitors annually; 11 million remaining and 108 million day visitors.
Marketing Manchester management said: “Greater Manchester’s tourism sector is one of the tremendous successes that is often overlooked and taken for granted when people speak positively about how the city is moving forward and developing.
“The sector has grown and supported the economic recovery in Greater Manchester after the 2008 recession and is made up mostly of SMEs which make the region such an interesting and diverse place to visit, invest, meet and study.
“Despite the challenges of this year, the sector has rebounded with great success.
“Thanks to the growth and continued success of Manchester Airport over the past five years, the number of international visitors reached 1.4 million in 2016, already exceeding the target set in the 2020 tourism strategy.
“And at a broader regional level, there has also been a 7% increase in the number of international visitors to the Northwest over the past year.
“Business tourism, particularly the conferences and events sub-sector, is now worth £ 81million and supports 21,900 jobs. So far this year, Marketing Manchester and its partners have won 20 conferences which will bring 11,635 delegates and £ 21.7million to the region over the next few years.
“The value of these visitors, not only in monetary terms but also in terms of profile and investment opportunities, cannot be overstated.”
Sheona also spoke about the impact of the arena attack.
She said: “Since the attack on the Arena in May, it has of course been a difficult time for the sector, but the tourist community has shown its true Mancunian courage and has withstood the incident much better than the comparators. of the EU.
“Manchester’s average hotel occupancy rate in the first half of 2017 exceeded last year’s record growth and surpassed all other Nordic destinations as well as the UK average.
“Occupancy rates and values after the attack have struggled, but the latest figures for August show signs of recovery and are in line with 2016, even with increased hotel supply compared to twelve months ago , which means that the demand is actually higher than last year.
“It’s real resilience and it shows how much potential there is, but performing at last year’s level is not enough, as we are aiming for 5% year-over-year growth and considering the impact of a 25% increase in the stock of hotel rooms. now until 2020.
“With the right funding and investments from government and private sector partnerships, such growth can be achieved this year. “
Marketing Manchester recently received £ 1million from the Discover England Fund to increase the volume of visitors passing through Manchester Airport by creating routes that highlight the city and tours that open up the north of England.
By working with destinations, the travel and tourism industry and targeting the US market, Marketing Manchester will lead a partnership to maximize the potential of the North of England as an international destination and gateway to the North.